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First Iridium Certus data transmission performed by Collins Aerospace


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Collins Aerospace recently completed its first data transmission using Iridium Certus, made possible by a new low gain active antenna. (Collins Aerospace)

Collins Aerospace has completed the first data transmission to an orbiting Iridium satellite using Certus, made possible by a new satellite communications system the company is developing.

Certus is Iridium’s multi-service communications platform designed to provide security service communications including dual voice and aircraft communications and reporting system network data link connectivity. Collins Aerospace is one of several value-added manufacturers (VAMs) working on the development of Certus terminals, including new satellite connectivity technology that will be available to operators by 2022.

The transmission was the “first successful transmission of such airborne equipment over the L-band broadband service of the upgraded Iridium constellation,” according to Collins. With a new Active Low Gain Antenna (ALGA), transmission was enabled by a Satcom Data Unit (SDU) and SDU Configuration Module (SCM).

“Depending on the operator’s bandwidth requirements, a low or high gain antenna can be included, providing L-band bandwidth at 176 kilobits per second (kbps) or 704 kbps, respectively,” the company said in a statement.

The data transmission marks the latest milestone in Iridium Certus technology development for the company, after first confirming in January 2019 that it would develop terminals for the Boeing 737 MAX and 777X.

“This significant achievement marks our progress in providing our customers with an even faster and more seamless SATCOM experience,” said Nate Boelkins, vice president and general manager of commercial avionics for Collins Aerospace.

Iridium also uses Certus to enable data and voice communications for aeronautical, maritime and other mobility applications in two different configurations, including a low speed connection of 352 kbps and a higher speed version of 704 kbps. Gradually, terminal speeds should reach 1.4 mbps, thanks to the software on the new Iridium Next satellites.

“We are making progress in delivering Iridium Certus aerospace products in 2021 and 2022,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch said during the company’s second quarter earnings call. “Our first end partners have started testing their products on our network and we are making regulatory progress towards FAA certification for security services on Iridium Certus to complement our existing security products. We remain excited about the aviation segment and its future contribution to broadband revenues in the years to come. “

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